It's Just Plain WrongFeb 02, 2023 12:00AM ● By Story and photo by Michele Townsend
The roadway with a new name on the way. Maybe it should be renamed 'The Wrong Way?'
WEST SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) – The City of West Sacramento city council has chosen to rename a very busy street that will cost some taxpayers a lot of time and money.
The Brown Act reads: “In enacting this chapter, the Legislature finds and declares that the public commissions, boards and councils and the other public agencies in this State exist to aid in the conduct of the people’s business. It is the intent of the law that their actions be taken openly and that their deliberations be conducted openly. The people of this State do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies which serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may retain control over the instruments they have created.”
This is what the Broderick/Bryte Neighborhood Association (BBNA) believes was violated when it comes to the decision to rename the stretch of road that leads onto the Tower Bridge from West Sacramento. It has been decided by the council that Tower Bridge Gateway, which actually properly describes the stretch of roadway, will be renamed Christopher L. Cabaldon Parkway. Those that oppose the renaming say that it is ridiculous and that they don’t mind if the council wants to dedicate something else to Mr. Cabaldon, such as a new street or roadway under future development, a new city building, or maybe even renaming the post office building. With all of the building and developing going on, why can’t it be something that is not named yet?
They also say that the Brown Act was violated in the process of this very quick decision made by the City Council. It all comes down to whether a chance for public comment was given or respected, and whether they decided we know or don’t know. As Chris Ledesma’s last thing done before retiring from the City Council, he wanted to do something to honor Cabaldon. It was then said that a street renaming has been suggested. City Manager Aaron Laurel said that it normally would go onto the future agenda “Probably November” as a proposal for what form of recognition that would include. He said that in the future meeting they would bring the details. He further said if they wanted to have discussion, they could go ahead and have it then.
In the time between the October and November meetings, the City sent out notifications to the residents of the Tower Bridge Gateway Apartments with a deadline of within a ten days. However, it takes 2-3 days for that mail to arrive and 2-3 days to be returned. The City will later say that they reviewed all comments that they got that “qualified”. Does that mean that those responses that they received outside of the ten-day period did not qualify?
Residents of Tower Gateway Apartments, who would not give their names, said that they thought it was “junk mail.” Another said he thought it was a survey because of how it was written. Members of the Broderick/Bryte Neighborhood Association claim that what was done was not enough effort to notify those residents and get their proper feedback.
When the November City Council meeting was held, the item of renaming the street was listed as a resolution. It appears the council may have skipped a step. What happened to the actual proposal stage to reveal all details and the cost to taxpayers? When were the total responses recognized from the mailer reviewed by the council? What happened to other options for recognizing Mr. Cabaldon
During the November 16, 2022 meeting proceedings included were the public comment speaking section, where the public is allowed to speak on topics they want to bring up to the council. One woman, Maria Grijalva attempted to speak about the renaming or the roadway and was stopped by the city attorney, being told she could not speak on it. Another gentleman spoke against the renaming of the roadway as well.
Mayor Guerrero said that before each item listed there would be an opportunity for public comment. During each topic Mayor Guerrero called for public comment. During this topic about renaming the roadway, no call for public comment was made. Only Councilwoman Alcala asked questions and eventually voted no for the reason of public comment being needed.
Since the vote and decision to change the name, the council has been accused of violating the Brown Act. In addition, a petition has been posted on Change.com that has more than 500 signatures. There is also a Facebook page called “Leave Tower Bridge Gateway Alone”. The city attorney has reviewed the video of the meeting and says that the City did not violate the Brown Act.
The City released the following statement: “The City followed all applicable laws and policies for renaming Tower Bridge Gateway and notified all interested government agencies, including the U.S. Postal Service, as well as utility providers in advance of the City Council’s decision to change the street name. The City is currently procuring new signage, the cost for which will be minimal. The official changeover is expected to take place this spring. The City will renotify all appropriate agencies as well as the owners and residents of 825 Tower Bridge Gateway, which is the only physical structure with an address on the street, well in advance of the official change.”
Will the City reimburse all the taxpayers for their personal costs for making the change to their personal records? There is a real cost of time and money for everyone affected. It is not right to pass these costs on to taxpayers that didn’t have the real opportunity to reply, especially when there were so many other options available to the city council. The real costs could be thousands of dollars each.
Isn’t “Tower Bridge Gateway” a much more iconic name for the roadway that is a centerpiece to a city with a professional sports team? No offense to Mr. Cabaldon and his history of hard work for the city, but a building or new school would have been more appropriate for this effort.
The BBNA has asked if the council really considered the 77 people that will now have to change their address on their driver’s licenses, bank accounts and other accounts. In addition, The Tower Bridge Gateway Apartments will have to change their letterhead, business cards etc. Additionally, anything that has a map on it, such as documents at Sutter Health Park showing directions will now need changing.
The BBNA believes that it is unacceptable to force these people to have to take the time and cost to make this change. To many this entire process was decided upon and was intentionally pushed through without any real public input. Actions like this are where recalls get started.
There is no question that Mr. Cabaldon did a lot for West Sacramento. The BBNA says if the City Council believe in this so much, they should have had full transparency.
If you have a comment about this story, you can always direct it to your city councilmember.